The housing market is doing strange things. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution puts it, “the housing market is stuck in middle gear.” A large part of this is that there just aren’t that many houses available for sale, especially at the low end (entry-level) of the market:

Why are there so few homes for sale?

Experts suggest a number of reasons but all are evidence that nine years after the housing market started collapsing in Atlanta, the crash continues to resound:

— Some owners cannot sell because they are still “underwater,” their homes worth less than they owe on their mortgage.

— Much new construction is at the upper end of the market.

— Builders are simply not building at their previous pace, [Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow,] said. “Nationally, it is about 600,000 a year and we should be closer to 2 million new homes because we were under-construction built for so long.”

— Many homes are still owned by institutional investors that swooped in after the crash to buy homes on the cheap. They were looking for cash flow by renting them out and they are mostly still renting them.

“Institutional investors are not unloading their properties,” Gudell said. “They are getting a good return. So a larger share of single family homes are rented out today than historically.”

Interesting, and I would suspect that a lot of this also applies in places like Charlotte or Raleigh.

H/t: JAT